Lots of playoff action going on: baseball is heating up for summer, and the NFL is in the midst of OTA’s (that’s organized team activities for those of you who might be like me, and thought these summer workouts were just that – or mini-camps as they used to be called). With that being said, we might as well jump right in.
The San Antonio Spurs took care of the Memphis Grizzlies in four games to reach this year’s NBA finals, where they await the winner of the Heat-Pacers series. I think it would be great to see the Spurs face off against the Heat because of just how different they are. Miami is a supposed uber-team, with two of the best players in the game (and Chris Bosh). The Spurs are a blue collar group led by Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. Of course, the thing some people might forget when looking at this matchup is that Duncan has more rings than Lebron and Wade combined…. So, who, exactly, is the best player?
Speaking of the NBA finals, it’s been interesting to follow this year as teams like Indiana and Memphis got a lot farther than a lot of people would have predicted. As these scrappier squads battled into the second and third rounds, super-star filled teams like both Los Angeles franchises, Oklahoma City, and the New York Knicks, all bowed out fairly early. Just goes to show that having the best player on your team is not always the secret to succeeding.
In the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins certainly have the best player (Sidney Crosby) and quite possibly the second best player (Evgeni Malkin) in their series with Boston, but I think the Bruins can still win. Defense and goaltending so often carry teams in the NHL playoffs, and the Bruins are doing both those things better than anyone else right now. In the west the LA Kings finally know who they’re playing – it’s the Chicago Blackhawks. While the Kings are the defending champs, they are in a bit of a spot like the Bruins; the underdog against a team loaded with talent. What the Kings have going for them is that they know how to win, and Jonathan Quick is playing like a brick wall in the crease. That said, I’m predicting a Blackhawks-Bruins finale. But I’m usually wrong about these things, so we’ll see.
Just read where Los Angeles Dodger Matt Kemp injured himself on Tuesday, and then again on Wednesday. If there was ever a baseball player who needed to go on the disabled list, it was Kemp. Here’s hoping his hamstring issue isn’t too serious, but is just serious enough to give him 15 days off.
And finally, the NFL continued its quest for year-round relevance by hyping the former mini-camps, (now OTA’s as I pointed out in the opening) to such an extent that you’d think they actually mattered. On day one of OTA’s, I read that embattled New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez threw three interceptions, and that the man brought in to replace him, Geno Smith, didn’t fare much better. Honestly, this was a report from a Jets’ practice! Not only was it practice, but it was a pad-less practice in May! I suppose it all goes to show just how popular the NFL has become when workouts in May become bigger sports stories than the playoffs of two other leagues, or the goings on in what used to be the National Pastime. There is already talk of lengthening the NFL season by a couple games, which is fine with me. But it makes me wonder, is that enough? How about 20 games? Or, even better – how about making the season last for the better part of the year? I know at first glance you scoff at my comment, but then the fan in you starts to think about it, and you know what… it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea after all – does it?